High drama on stage one of the Cape Epic as the big distances and conditions start to take their toll.
Two things are certain at the Cape Epic: mechanicals and illness. One thing that isn't certain is luck. All the best preparation counts for nothing if you don't have luck on your side.
After a full gas day at the prologue, riders departed on a 110km/1900m day from Arabella Winery. The front of the race was on the offensive, as the top 5, even the top 10, were very close after the 20km prologue.
In the end it was Cannondale Factory Racing and Investec Songo-Specialized at the front, the XCO specialists were flying! CFR took it on the line in a sprint finish.
In the women's race, Langvad and Courtney from Investec Songo-Specialized were controlling their lead but had to stay calm with a slow leak before pacing back to their position - and another stage win.
Big names fall
While many teams were plagued by punctures, illness also abounds. Kristian Hynek battled through from Canyon Factory Racing, and they hold a top 5 position. Nino Schurter's team mate Matthias Stirnemann finished but has a stomach bug and can't continue.
Australian Briony Mattocks crashed on a descent and wasn't able to finish the stage. This is just a small part of the carnage on Stage 1.
Victorian mountain bikers Brad Clarke and Rohin Adams rode to a 2nd place finish in Stage 1 in the Masters category, despite a puncture and some time where they lost contact in the melee of a Cape Epic opening hour.
It's still all to play for - but head to the results page to see how it looks for now.
Photos: Cape Epic/Sportzpics